State Legislature passes on-time $132.5 billion budget
(AP) - New York's Legislature, once determined tobe the most dysfunctional in the nation, has passed a historicallydifficult budget on time amid the heckling of protesters. Early Thursday, the Assembly passed its final budget bills inthe $132.5 billion budget that cuts spending 2 percent. TheRepublican-led Senate had completed it bills before midnight. "Yes, there's pain," said Sen. Hugh Farley, a SchenectadyCounty Republican, acknowledging the chanting on four floors of theCapitol. "But there's pain for everybody. We are solving a hugeproblem, and we are bringing back New York state to the EmpireState again." Final negotiations and delays in printing the bills made for atense night as lawmakers worked through the snags and raced toadopt the budget by midnight Wednesday. It is just the fourthadopted by the annual April 1 deadline since 1983. The budget would eliminate a $10 billion deficit caused by yearsof overspending, overtaxing and overdependence on Wall Street.Through negotiations with the Legislature, Gov. Andrew Cuomo'sproposed budget increased about $250 million but was offset byequal reductions that left record cuts to schools, publicuniversities and health care for the poor. Late Wednesday night, lawmakers and Cuomo agreed on how todivide $230 million in restorations of base operating aid forschool districts. Under that agreement, New York City schools willget $51 million, Long Island schools will get $45 million andupstate schools will get $134 million. The statewide cut in school aid remains historic at $697million. The budget contains no tax increases or significant borrowing.